Viral videos show crowded parks in Atlanta, Georgia this week, to the dismay of social media. Many people criticized visitors at Gresham Park, who seemed to be crowded together for no particular reason, without masks or six feet between them. Many argued that this was the result of Gov. Brian Kemp lifting the state's stay-at-home order.
Gresham Park was full this weekend, as were other public places in the city of Atlanta. The Twitter account Everything Georgia shared a video on Monday showing cars packed into a pull-off on the side of the road at the park. People milled about in the area, most of them apparently just relaxing and enjoying the outdoors. None maintained six feet of social distance, however, and only one person wore a mask in the clip. The person recording kept their car windows up as they passed by.
The account also found a photo of Piedmont Park this weekend as well. It was packed with people, again, not wearing masks and not keeping distance. Many people criticized the two images, saying that Georgians should think for themselves and stay safe, even if their stay-at-home order had been lifted.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp decided to lift his state's stay-at-home order starting on May 1, and some residents are already acting as if it is done. Kemp has been widely criticized for this move, and for allowing businesses such as hair and nail salons, gyms and even tattoo parlors to reopen.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has produced a new predictive model to see how Kemp's policies will effect the spread of coronavirus in his state. Researchers found that Georgia will likely have double its current amount of daily COVID-19 deaths by early August if Kemp's rules are kept in place, according to a report by CNN. Independent researcher Youyang Gu said the early reopening "might be more serious than what people have been thinking."
"I want to make sure that people understand the facts and the science," Gu said. "We use a very classic epidemiologic model."
Gu's model also takes into account the current plan for other south-eastern states to reopen starting in June, though that may change. Some of the states surrounding Georgia may decide to reopen earlier, while others may push the date back. Right now, experts say that social distancing remains paramount to slowing the spread of the outbreak.